Trump brushes off possibility of another call with Taiwan leader

Trump brushes off possibility of another call with Taiwan leader
© Getty

President Trump on Thursday brushed aside Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen's suggestion that the pair speak again by phone, citing relations with China's leader.

"Look, my problem is I have established a very good personal relationship with President Xi," Trump told Reuters, referring to Chinese President Xi Jinping.

"I really feel that he is doing everything in his power to help us with a big situation,” Trump continued, referring to potential Chinese help to rein in North Korea's nuclear ambitions.

ADVERTISEMENT

“So I wouldn’t want to be causing difficulty right now for him,” Trump said. “I think he’s doing an amazing job as a leader and I wouldn’t want to do anything that comes in the way of that. So I would certainly want to speak to him first.”

Tsai said earlier in the day Thursday that she was open to having another call with Trump after the pair spoke in early December, when Trump broke decades of U.S. protocol by fielding a congratulatory call from the Taiwanese leader.

“We don’t exclude the opportunity to call President Trump himself, but it depends on the needs of the situation and the U.S. government’s consideration of regional affairs," Tsai told Reuters earlier Thursday.

Trump's December call inflamed tensions between the U.S. and China, the latter of which views Taiwan as a breakaway province. Trump promised Xi in February that he would honor the "One China" policy and hosted the Chinese leader at his Mar-a-Lago club earlier this month in Palm Beach, Fla.